• Mancini has eyes on more success after setting new Italy record

    Italy coach Roberto Mancini

    Italy manager Roberto Mancini has expressed humility after beating a national record that has stood for 80 years.

    A clinical 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina was the Azzurri’s ninth in a row in the campaign, and 10th in succession overall.

    It means Mancini has now surpassed the mark set by World Cup-winner Vittorio Pozzo between 1938 and 1939.

    Despite the new record, Mancini knows it counts for little given the ultimate goal is success in next summer’s finals.

    ‘I’m happy with the record,” said Mancini at a post-match news conference. ‘To go above a legend like Pozzo means a lot but the road is still long.’

    Goals from Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne and Andrea Belotti comfortably dispatched the hosts in Zenica to maintain Italy’s 100% record at the top of Group J.

    It is all a far cry from two years ago when Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

    ‘Sometimes results arrive that you don’t even deserve, but you have to accept it,’ added Mancini. ‘That’s football, unfortunately.

    ‘We’ve implemented a different way of working, in technical terms also. The guys have done very well and it’s paid off.’

    Belotti, who scored a sweetly struck third seven minutes after the break to snuff out any hope of a second-half revival from Bosnia, hailed the impact of Mancini since his arrival 18 months ago.

    The Torino striker said: ‘Mancini has done a great job. He has given us clear ideas in a short period of time.’

    Lazio defender Acerbi, whose opening goal in the 21st minute was his first for his country, feels Italy can build on what they have so far achieved.

    ‘I’m happy with my first goal for Italy,’ said Acerbi.

    ‘It was not easy because Bosnia had nothing to lose and they tried to attack but we controlled the game well and we deserved this victory.

    ‘We have had a very good qualifying campaign, and I’m sure that these victories will help us to win more.’

    As for Bosnia, they must now rely on the backdoor route to the finals via the playoffs.

    Midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who plays for Juventus, feels his side have not done themselves justice this qualifying campaign.

    He said: ‘Italy are a good team and deserved the victory.

    ‘We should have done better in this group. We had the chance to qualify but we didn’t deserve to because we haven’t played to our potential in all the games.’

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